The world is moving towards automation with more emphasis on machine doing the work for us. To take advantage of the technology and the big data floating around, Rice University recently announced their big data project costing around $11 million called PLINY.
PLINY is said to work just like any other search engine that will autocomplete and autocorrect programs for programmes. The philosophy behind the project is intuitive and simple, "to help programmers not re-invent the wheel" and take help of the previous work done by other programmers.
“Imagine the power of having all the code that has ever been written in the past available to programmers at their fingertips as they write new code or fix old code" said Vivek Sarkar, Rice’s E.D. Butcher Chair in Engineering.
When asked about how sophisticated PLINY can become, Vivek Sarkar said
“You can think of this as autocomplete for code, but in a far more sophisticated way.”
The whole project funding is done by DARPA(Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), which will round to $11 million. The name PLINY comes from the maker of the first encyclopedia, a Roman naturalist.
PLINY: An automated auto complete program for future programmers
The scope of the project is huge considering the fact that it can bring fast software production in the market. But it is not that simple, programmers still have to use some of their analytical and reasoning skills. Around a dozen of the computer scientists are collaborating for the project including scientist from Rice, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Texas-Austin and the company GrammaTech.
PLINY is the part of the bigger picture here. Currently, it is under the part of DARPA's MUSE(Mining and Understanding Software Enclaves) program, which revolves around the idea of capturing all the available open-source code on the internet. According to Rice blog, the code count can reach billions of lines. Big data has a major role in the project, which can make the indexing, searching and recognizing patterns in the code easier.
PLINY is trying to get everything done with the hit of a button, said Swarat Chaudhuri, assistant professor of computer science at Rice. He also added that software complexity has changed a lot in the last 20 years and advanced tools needs to be created in order to overcome the complexity.
The core idea is recognizing the patterns and return them to the programmers saved draft with little or small differences. This could lead to faster development of software and a secure program. The engine of the program will be a data-mining engine whose work is to continuously scan massive open-source online repository for future use.